Fla.s first Black AoG pastor set to retire

admin | 6/11/2012, 8 a.m.

In October 2012, Floridas first Black Assembly of God pastor, Reverend Selwyn Scott will retire for the second time. Scotts first attempt came in 2008. He and his wife had moved to Port St. Lucie to enjoy their retirement. But his successor soon revealed that he planned to retire himself, forcing Scott to step back into the pulpit of Revival Tabernacle Assembly of God in Miami. This is not an easy church to pastor because its only had one pastor for the last 40 years, he explained. Its hard to make that transition to a new minister. For his final retirement attempt, Scott made sure the churchs parishioners were prepared. His upcoming successor, Rev. Leonard Shaw, has been serving an assistant pastor at the church for the last two years. Hes been fitting in and I think its going to work this time, Scott said. Of course, the thought of a successful, permanent transition is bitter sweet to the minister. The 77-year-old minister already knows that he will miss the weekly routine of pastoring the estimated 200 members who gather in the sanctuary. On Sundays, its like the whole family is getting together for service, he said. He further explained, Im sort of ambivalent in what lies ahead but I realize you cant continue in doing your best forever and I dont think its fair to the congregation not to be able to give 100 percent. An unintentional trailblazer Nearly half a century ago, the neighborhood surrounding the church was undergoing transition as more Blacks began to move into the area.That transition had decimated the membership levels of Revival Tabernacle which had been a predominately white church. When Scott was given the senior pastor post in 1972, the church was in danger of being shut down permanently. In the beginning, the pews were occupied by Scotts wife and their then brood of six children. So, I had a good start, the minister said with a smile. Slowly, the church, which is now predominately Black, grew and today has approximately 200 members. Its been an ongoing process because Assembly of God was really foreign to Black people and they had no idea what we were all about, he recalled. The Assembly of God is a Pentecostal church that is closely related ot the Church of God in Christ and was founded in 1914. The church now includes several departments including Mens, Womens, Youth and a Foreign ministries. Scott also oversaw the expansion of the church which included building additional buildings and adding a parking lot. I feel very honored to be the pastor of this church because this is a great church, he said. Meanwhile, Scott worked hard to achieve a single goal for his personal life to be a good father. Married to his second wife for more than 30 years, the pair have raised seven children and several grand- and great grandchildren -- all of whom continue to attend the Revival Tabernacle. Thats my greatest accomplishment keeping the members of my family together, he said. We have a great relationship as a family. Rev. Selwyn Scotts 40th pastoral anniversary celebration activities will include a banquet on Friday, Oct. 26th and special services on Sunday, Oct. 28th at 3 p.m. The Revival Tabernacle Assembly of God is located at 2085 NW 97th Street in Miami. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com